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Genealogy Shows Cardinal O’Connor’s Mother Was Jewish

The Catholic Church’s top official in New York, Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor, was well-known as a defender and friend of the Jewish people. However, he apparently was unaware that his mother was born Jewish, the daughter of a rabbi. “The basic fact is, my mother was Jewish,” said Mary O’Connor Ward-Donegan, the cardinal’s 87-year-old sister.

You can read more in an article by Alison Leigh Cowan in the New York Times at http://goo.gl/9Am9bL.

Elisabeth Schmidt, R.I.P.

Elisabeth Schmidt passed away on Friday, May 16, 2014. She was active in the genealogical community for many years. She was a Board Certified Genealogist, served for two years as treasurer at the national level of the Association of professional genealogists (APG), and worked at the DAR headquarters for many years.

You can read Elisabeth’s obituary, including a lengthy list of her many genealogical accomplishments, at http://goo.gl/3zdyp5.

My thanks to Shirley Wilcox for telling me the sad news.

Family Roots Publishing, including Leland and Patty Meitzler, to Move to Orting, Washington

The many friends of Leland and Patty Meitzler will be interested to learn they are moving back to their home town and will be taking their business with them. Dale, Tara and the grandchildren are going with them. As Leland wrote in his announcement, “They say you can never go home again, and sure enough, we can’t get the 50-acre farm back. But we can come close.”

Details are available in Leland’s Genealogy Blog at http://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=32019.

Long-lost Relative finds the Hilton Siamese Twins Decades after their Death

A sad, but fascinating, story about Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton involves a genealogy search by a relative who had never known previously that she was related to the once-famous twins. Daisy and Violet were conjoined twins, born in England in 1908. They were brought to America as infants and became entertainers in vaudeville for a number of years. They spent their later years working side-by-side in the produce department of the Park-N-Shop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

On May 1, a British couple entered the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Public Library and asked librarian Shelia Bumgarner for the file on the Hilton twins. That started an investigation into the long-secret family of the twins.

Longest-separated Twins Find Each Other After 78 Years

Imagine delving into your family history and discovering you have a twin. That’s what happened to Ann Hunt, a 78-year-old, who had no idea she had a sibling at all until last year. Now she and twin Elizabeth Hamel have met for the first time since they were babies – setting a new world record.

J. Brian Gilchrist, R.I.P.

Genealogists lost a good friend this morning. J. Brian Gilchrist passed away in Brampton, Ontario.

Brian was a popular genealogy speaker and author. I met him several times. The first meeting was in Toronto in the summer of 2004 and was one I will never forget. Everyone enjoyed his presentations and especially the humor he injected into his talks. However, it was also obvious to everyone in the audience that Brian also was an expert genealogist who knew the topic of his presentation well. He was the author of many publications and also was an active member of a number of genealogy organizations.

You can read more about J. Brian Gilchrist in a an article by Gail Dever, published in the Genealogy à la carte blog, at http://goo.gl/s5hsBJ.

Veteran Family History Librarian Randy Riley Selected as the Next State Librarian of Michigan

It is great to see an award-winning family history librarian be promoted. The following announcement was written by the office of the Michigan Director of Public and Governmental Affairs:

LANSING – Randy Riley has been selected as the next State Librarian, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced. Riley, who has been the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) coordinator, will succeed Nancy Robertson, who is retiring April 30th after almost a decade in that role.

Riley is a librarian’s librarian, according to State Superintendent Mike Flanagan, with 24 years of varied experience at the Library of Michigan (LM), where he coordinated Michigan’s Notable Books program and Center for the Book, plus MeL.

Clyde Vincent, Cajun Genealogist, R.I.P.

Clyde Vincent

Clyde Vincent, who dedicated much of his life to chronicling and preserving the Cajun culture, has died. His legacy, however, will live on. Vincent was recognized for his work in preserving the Cajun heritage last year when he was inducted into the Order of the Living Legends at the Acadian Museum in Erath, La. in February, 2013.

Vincent, who died Monday at the age of 88 in Beaumont, Texas, willed his vast collection of Cajun genealogy research, books and even VCR tapes of interviews with “old timers” to the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont. Stephanie Soule, archivist with the Tyrrell Historical Library said the collection is being catalogued and will be available for patron use.

Woman Finds Love Letter 6 Decades Old and Tracks Down the Soldier Who Wrote It

Be careful when you write love letters! You never know who will find them. Then again, who writes letters these days?

A woman from Murrells Inlet, S.C., purchased a pile of paperbacks at a used bookstore and found a letter inside one of the books. The envelope was postmarked November 1951. With the help of a genealogist, the woman was able to locate the soldier, now a 83-year-old veteran in a suburb of Detroit. A phone call was made and now the letter has been returned to the ex-soldier.

You can read the full story by Lindsey Bever in the Washington Post at http://goo.gl/eFCL3i.

Genealogist Kenneth Thomson named Citizen of the Year

Kenneth C. Thomson Jr. has dedicated the majority of his life to studying and preserving local history. He received the Citizen of the Year award from Sumner County Publications on Friday in Gallatin, Tennessee.

As a freelance historian and genealogist, Thomson has been the go-to source for everything and everybody related to Sumner County history with the ability to answer off the top of his head specific questions, citing names and dates. Late state historian Walter Durham once said that Thomson knows more about “Sumner County people than anybody.”

Guy Berthiaume Appointed as Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Library and Archives Canada has seen a lot of internal turmoil in the past year or two. Some of the problems were described in my earlier articles. You can find those articles by starting at http://goo.gl/B469KJ. New leadership has now been announced and the new Librarian and Archivist of Canada will (hopefully) bring stability to the agency.

The following was written by the Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages:

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Shelly Glover today announced the appointment of Guy Berthiaume as Librarian and Archivist of Canada for a term of five years, effective June 23, 2014.

The Irish Family History of the New Host of the “Late Show”

Stephen ColbertHere is an interesting article about the genealogy of Stephen Colbert who will replace David Letterman next year as host of CBS’s the Late Show: http://goo.gl/uWZVIJ.

Seven out of eight of Colbert’s great-grandparents are documented as being of Irish descent.

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